Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease affecting about one in every six people aged 14 to 49 in the United States. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 776,000 new cases of herpes infections occur each year.
It is a viral infection that’s commonly transmitted through close sexual contact like vaginal, anal or oral sex. Herpes simplex type 1 and herpes simplex type 2 are the viruses that cause genital herpes.
Symptoms for Genital herpes
Symptoms, which can range from mild to severe, do not always appear right away. For some, outbreaks may only occur every so often. Others suffer from frequent outbreaks. When the signs do become apparent, they typically include blisters in the genital area and/or rectum, painful sores that can take several weeks to heal, and fever and flu-like symptoms. (This usually happens during the first outbreak.) According to the CDC, the blisters associated with genital herpes can break and cause painful sores that bleed. For this reason, people with genital herpes are more susceptible to contracting HIV. The condition is usually visually diagnosed during an outbreak.
Preventing Genital herpes
There is currently no cure for genital herpes, but it can be prevented. The best thing people can do to protect themselves is to use condoms during every sexual encounter. However, the CDC warns that condoms are not 100 percent effective in preventing herpes. Keeping up with regular STD testing can also prevent the spread of genital herpes.
In terms of treatment, antiviral medications can help decrease the length of outbreaks. They can also reduce the chances of spreading the infection to someone else. Acycovir, famciclovir and valacyclovir are common herpes treatments. The American Academy of Dermatology reports that in rare cases, serious complications can arise in healthy people with herpes simplex. In most cases, complications occur in unborn babies, newborns and people with weak immune systems.
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